For day 353, I told you I would watch the girls for the day while you did whatever you wanted (I made sure to tell you ahead of time). I expected you to drive to your mom’s to go shopping or to read a book in your room for hours or to go out with one of your friends or a combination of these. Instead, you said you didn’t want the day away, but wanted a few hours alone to get some rest. I tried to convince you to take the whole day, but you insisted that you didn’t want it. So, what could I do but honor your request? I watched the girls while you took a few hours for yourself to get all rested up. These times away should be a regular occurrence!
You have a lot of relationships in your life that you need to foster—your relationship with me, God, our children, our church, your friends, and your family and mine. Some of these relationships have priority over others and maintaining that proper balance can be tough!
For act 329, I read and prayed through the chapter on priorities in The Power of a Praying Husband. Omartian talked about the importance of living a balanced life, giving appropriate attention to your relationships, your spiritual life, your responsibilities, yourself, etc. I prayed that you would be able maintain a good balance in your life, but I focused on praying that you would maintain a good balance in and give appropriate priority to the various relationships in your life.
I prayed that you would give your relationship with God priority over every other relationship. I prayed that you would put me next and the kids after that. From there, I prayed that you would have time to foster good relationships with other people in your life. I can help with that by providing opportunities for you to be with others.
I think you do a great job in this area. I pray that you would grow even more.
Lately, I’ve been convicted. Very convicted. I’m supposed to be taking the lead with our family by, for one thing, teaching our kids about God. But I haven’t been systematic about doing this. At best, I’ve taught them some stuff here or there during teachable moments and I’ve read them some stuff from their children’s Bible.
When I went to that men’s conference, I decided that I needed to make some changes in this area. For my 325th act of love, then, I committed to reading the Bible and praying with our family every day. To ensure that we would be consistent, I promised our kids that every time we had family devotions for seven days in a row, they would get a prize.
We’ve been consistent ever since I made my commitment. For our first prize, we got frozen yogurt at Pinkberry. The prizes won’t be that cool every time, but I wanted to kick things off right.
Our kids weren’t too keen on the fact that we went on a boat without them. In fact, they’ve been downright upset that I’ve lately taken you out alone so much. Their feelings are justified, to an extent—if I’m always doing fun stuff with you and not them, that’s not cool. Then again, they need to realize that dad’s going to treat mom differently than he treats them.
At any rate, I tried to show them that I think they’re special too by taking them (and you) around the Santa Barbara harbor on a water taxi.
Lil’ Toot was her name and she bore it well. Confidently she tooted her little horn to alert the surrounding vessels of her presence as she bravely navigated the choppy waters of the harbor.
After our rendezvous on Lil’ Toot, we meandered through the harbor’s Maritime Museum, which was free for the day.
We all had a great time. O Lil’ Toot, warrior of the waves, we thank thee. Though you were a Lil’ Toot, you gave us a big adventure.
Sometimes when I come home from work, you’re full of energy and cheerful, but other times, you’re frazzled and frustrated. Tuesday was one of the latter times. For my act of love, then, I watched the kids, made dinner, then put the kids to bed while you lay on our bed reading a book. You were tremendously grateful.
Last night, we watched the movie Courageous together so that I would be strengthened in my resolve to be a better husband and father. (I’m setting aside my desire to critique its filmic elements.) I praise God for giving me the resolve to do well by you and our children. May he strengthen my resolve.
Being a good husband to you requires being a good father to our children and vice versa. Being a good husband and father to you and our girls requires devotion to God and vice versa. May God increase my devotion.
Incidentally, the whole family’s been getting involved in showing love to one another. In addition to the note you gave me, you (and the girls) surprised me with a special dinner to encourage me for doing well at work. Plus, our girls, seeing the love notes we give each other, now frequently write each other and us love notes. And, every time we go to the grocery store, they run to the flower section and ask me what flowers we should get for you. Of course, we can’t spend a fortune on flowers, so I tell them that we can only buy you flowers once a week. It seems like 365’s become a family matter.
On Saturday, we looked at old pictures together. I wanted us to look at wedding pictures and pictures of us when we were dating, but we ended up looking at pictures of our kids when they were younger. Here was our clichéd but appropriate reaction: my, how they’ve changed!
You’re actually a tad overwhelmed with my acts of love (I don’t know why, *cough cough*). So, this week, I’m going to lay low. Maybe I’ll do some secret, small, and/or mundane acts.
On Saturday, the girls and I each made you an ornament for the tree. For each of us, I glued two candy canes together in the shape of a heart. Then, we made bows on our candy-cane hearts out of pipe cleaners. Next, we each made a note for you and attached it to our respective bows. Finally, we put hooks on the hearts so we could hang them on the tree.
I like involving our girls in my acts of love. For one, I’m leading them by example, teaching them the proper way to treat you. It remains a fact that whether or not I’m a good example for our children, they follow me. The same goes for you. Their idea of how to treat others is formed (in part) by the way we treat each other. In general, the kind of person a child becomes is due (in part) to the kind of lives his parents lead. In other words, a child’s home makes his heart. In light of this, may God’s grace abound in us so that we can treat each other well. May he forgive us when we fail. (I admit that I fail daily.) Two, by involving our girls in my acts of love, they themselves practice love for others, selflessness, etc. In both of these ways, then, 365 Acts of Love has the potential to shape our kids’ hearts to be more like Christ’s heart. May God use it for that end.
“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” (Prov. 22:6)
Lately, you’ve been exhausted because of our newborn, so yesterday I chose an act that would give you some rest and rejuvenation–I watched the kids with my brother while you went out with my sister-in-law to get a pedicure. You seemed to enjoy yourself because you came back giddy and glowing. On top of that, you gave me a warm, intimate hug and thanked me for letting you go. Just seeing and experiencing you that way made me feel happy and refreshed. Your french tips look great, by the way. They complement your natural beauty.